There are many books that will give you the facts of World War Two, however, there are precious few that provide an intimate view into the hopes, dreams, and emotions of the people who lived through it.
This is such a book…
It was December 8, 1941 when high school sophomore Barbara Storm, author of this book, was called into her high school gymnasium and informed that the country was at war.
As she relates, “we sat quietly with fear and wonder of what the future held for the young people in that room.”
A thousand miles away, a young man, Bill Farr would soon be taken from his college studies and placed in the Army Air Corps. There, through a mutual friend, he would meet Barbara and a story of war and romance, would begin.
Bill Farr was a keen observer, and his letters from training facilities, and later, an Army Air Corps base in southern Italy, give insight into the thoughts of a young man suddenly swept into a global war.
He wrote as many as four letters a week to Barbara, his ?girl at home,? describing his experiences and his impressions. The letters were full of pathos, frustration, boredom, but they exhibited hope that a better world would emerge from the chaos and destruction of a battle scarred Europe.
The letters also depict the growing romance between the separated couple and the expectations of life after the war. Bill writes of designing and building a home for a future family. These were the dreams that most of the men on the fighting fronts possessed. In the middle of the disruption of their lives, they hoped, as Bill did, that the war?s end would inaugurate a period of peace and prosperity.
World War Two was a defining moment in history, and understanding the event is gained from both the “bigger picture” and the micro stories of how it affected real people.
And that is the magic of this book.
The author, a historian, has placed the letters in the context of the political and military actions of the period. The story of Bill Farr typifies the experiences of the many soldiers in the war, yet it is unique. This book takes its place as an important documentary history of the war from the perspective of the soldiers who risked their lives and spent three to five years to “save democracy.” They came home to uncertainty and struggle, as did Bill Farr, but they persevered.
They became the “greatest generation.”
A History of World War Two tells the story of war and romance in letters intertwined with explanations of war events. It is illustrated with close to 100 vintage pictures published for the first time. Bill Farr, a photographer and member of the 37th Photo Squadron, took many local photographs of the people and scenery of Foggia, San Severo, the Isle of Capri, Naples and Pompeii which are included in this volume. Also included are his photographs on the Sea Scamp, the ship carrying his squadron home after the war ended, depicting life aboard the three week voyage.